Actor Headshot Poses – The Essential 6 Photo System

After taking thousands of headshots and speaking to an equal number of actors I have devised a simple-to-remember system for getting the important images in your acting portfolio.

My name is Steve Lowrey, I am a professional headshot photographer based on the outskirts of Manchester in the UK near Wigan & Bolton. I cover headshots for Actors, Entertainers and Businesses, more details can be found by clicking here.

The Essential 6 Photo System for Actors Headshots

I have broken down the basic requirements for any actor to create a ready-made portfolio to present to any casting director or agent.

To make this more simple the 6 images can be recalled by you at any time by remembering the 6 S system. These acting headshots examples depict a female actor but the principle is exactly the same for male actors. No experience is required, I will help and advise all the way, more on this further down the blog.

So let’s get straight into the 6 headshots

1. Serious

This is one of the most common styles of images required in any portfolio. Also referred to as dramatic, shocked, or “Tell me some bad news”

2. Secret

One of my favourites, this image should get the reader thinking! Imagine you are holding a secret of the person you are with. What do you know? This is also known as a mysterious look.

3. Sad

Keeping it subtle is the winning look, conveying sadness and accepting bad news. This look is another popular photograph for the portfolio.

4. Smile!

Often missed out, be happy, maybe you’re after a comedy job? Have a laugh… If you can convey happiness, you are a winner. The trick is to make it look natural and I have plenty of jokes to help move this along.

5. Smirk

This cheeky look is not to be confused with a smile. The scope for variation in this category is large, from sarcastic to completely fool-like.

6. Shape

Not a headshot but a portrait image that is becoming more popular and in demand. This is a photograph that gives a general impression of your body shape. This can be a half-body or three-quarter-body length shot. It is important and can save so much of your time to present a realistic portrait of yourself. There is no point in spending hours travelling to an audition to find out your too small or too big.

More headshot ideas for actors

These are 6 of the most important poses for actors but other people may have other opinions, which is fine, we are all different. Some people may wish to replace any of the above with a natural everyday look or a neutral look. One thing is for sure, you will have many headshot sessions throughout your career and this is a great place to start. You can keep, update and replace your images as you change.

Practice makes perfect.

I should not have to tell any actor of the importance of practice. It’s so important that you rehearse the images for your headshot session until your face hurts. This will give you confidence and save time in the studio. I can arrange for a mirror to be placed in the studio but prefer to do without if we can. It is important to get the eyes and mouth just right and we will do that together.

Posing for Actor’s Headshots

I understand that some people who attend the studio can be a little apprehensive and even nervous. This is one of the reasons I have set out the information above, this will help. When you are at the studio I will also explain how to stand, and how you position your shoulders and move your head. You will be an expert in 15 minutes! I have many 5-star Google reviews that state how much my clients felt at ease when they were nervous before they arrived.

It is so important you don’t overthink and stress, I have a light-hearted approach and the sessions are usually very enjoyable.

I can also advise you on what to wear for your headshot session, and which backdrops work best for you and I will cover that on another blog soon.

If you’re looking to book a headshot session or just want to look over my previous work, click here for my headshot website

The featured actor on this page is Shobi-Rae Instagram

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